Expressing "before" in general with "yiqian"

Revision as of 09:29, 19 November 2013 by Mixue (talk | contribs) (→‎Examples)

Using "before" in Chinese is very simple.


To talk about things in the past "in general", you can use the word 以前 (yǐqián).

以前 + Subject + Verb + Object

Subject + 以前 + Verb + Object

You can use this structure to talk about actions that happened at some unspecified time in the past.


  • 以前我 不 会 说中文。Before,I could not speak Chinese.
  • 以前 不 喝 啤酒。I didn't drink beer before.
  • 以前 我 不 喜欢 电影。Before, I didn't like movies.
  • 以前 很 喜欢 吃 面条。I'd like noodles before.
  • 以前 我 住 在 上海。Before I lived in Shanghai.
  • 以前 去 过 纽约。I went to New York before.
  • 以前 我 是 一 个 老师。Before I was a teacher.
  • 以前 没 在 医院 工作。I didn't work at the hospital before.
  • 以前 我 想 做 一 个 生意 人。Before I wanted to be a "business man".
  • 以前 总是 喜欢 哭。Before, I always liked to cry.

See also

Sources and further reading